Grapefruit Diet Menu

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
grapefruit diet

You may have heard about the grapefruit diet as a way to shed 10 pounds in just 12 days. This diet, first introduced by Dr. Kelly D. Brownell, has numerous variations, but the basics are the same: eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice before meals to help you drastically cut calories. With your doctor's permission, try the following menu for the grapefruit diet as a way to drop weight quickly.

Sample Menu

Because the grapefruit diet is very low in calories (containing about 800 calories daily), be sure your doctor gives you the okay before you begin. Below are a few sample menus to get you started on the grapefruit diet (calorie counts obtained using the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Tracker).

Day 1

Breakfast (309 calories)

  • ½ grapefruit
  • 2 scrambled eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 slices of turkey bacon
  • 1 cup of black coffee or unsweetened tea

Lunch (329 calories)

  • 1 cup of unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces of grilled chicken breast
  • 2 cups of leafy greens
  • 2 tablespoons ranch salad dressing

Dinner (193 calories)

  • ½ grapefruit
  • 2 ounces of baked tilapia
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of green beans
  • 1 cup black coffee or unsweetened tea

Nighttime Snack (41 calories)

  • 1 cup tomato juice

Total Calories: 872 calories

Day 2

salmon and salad

Breakfast (256 calories)

  • ½ grapefruit
  • 2 scrambled eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 slices of meatless vegetarian bacon
  • 1 cup of black coffee or unsweetened tea

Lunch (282 calories)

  • 1 cup of unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces of grilled salmon
  • 2 cups of leafy greens
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Italian salad dressing

Dinner (214 calories)

  • ½ grapefruit
  • 2 ounces of broiled pork chop
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of asparagus
  • 1 cup black coffee or unsweetened tea

Nighttime Snack (83 calories)

  • 1 cup skim milk

Total Calories: 835

Day 3

Breakfast (260 calories)

  • ½ grapefruit
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 slices of regular bacon
  • 1 cup of black coffee or unsweetened tea

Lunch (312 calories)

  • 1 cup of unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces of tuna
  • 2 cups of leafy greens
  • 2 tablespoons blue cheese dressing

Dinner (221 calories)

  • ½ grapefruit
  • 2 ounces of turkey breast (or turkey burger strips)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of cooked carrots
  • 1 cup black coffee or unsweetened tea

Nighttime Snack (41 calories)

  • 1 cup tomato juice

Total Calories: 835

Day 4

Breakfast (309 calories)

  • ½ grapefruit
  • 2 scrambled eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 slices of turkey bacon
  • 1 cup of black coffee or unsweetened tea

Lunch (287 calories)

  • 1 cup of unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces of grilled chicken breast
  • 2 cups of leafy greens
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup sliced cucumbers
  • 1 tablespoon ranch salad dressing

Dinner (187 calories)

  • ½ grapefruit
  • 3 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1 cup black coffee or unsweetened tea

Nighttime Snack (83 calories)

  • 1 cup skim milk

Total Calories: 866

Day 5

Breakfast (260 calories)

  • ½ grapefruit
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 slices of regular bacon
  • 1 cup of black coffee or unsweetened tea

Lunch (250 calories)

  • 1 cup of unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces of shrimp
  • 2 cups of leafy greens
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Italian salad dressing

Dinner (232 calories)

  • 1 cup of Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup black coffee or unsweetened tea

Nighttime Snack (83 calories)

  • 1 cup skim milk

Total Calories: 826

Grapefruit Diet Food List

The following foods are on the "good" list when following the grapefruit diet:

  • Grapefruits
    healthy foods
  • Unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • Black coffee
  • Unsweetened tea
  • Tomato juice
  • Skim milk
  • Bacon
  • Lean meats
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Lamb
  • Lean beef or turkey burger
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Leafy greens
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Bell peppers
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Red onions
  • Green onions
  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Dill pickles
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Vinegar
  • Oils
  • Regular salad dressing

Foods to Avoid

Avoid the following foods when following the grapefruit diet:

  • All sweets and desserts
  • Candy
  • Chocolate
  • Sweetened drinks (sodas, sweet tea, etc.)
  • Fruits (except grapefruit)
  • Breads
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Cereals
  • Potatoes (including sweet potatoes)
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Dried beans and other legumes
  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Pretzels
  • French fries
  • Pizza
  • Low-fat or fat-free salad dressing
  • Jams and jellies
  • Syrups
  • Honey
  • Ketchup
  • Sweet pickles

Diet Basics

The principal behind grapefruit diets is that grapefruits help fill you up without the extra calories, making it easier to cut calories and shed pounds. A 2011 study published in Nutrition and Metabolism confirms eating grapefruit before meals is effective for weight-loss, and it helps improve blood cholesterol levels. Key components of the diet to remember include:

  • Eat one-half of a grapefruit or 1 cup of unsweetened grapefruit juice before each meal.
  • Limit calories to 800 to 900 daily.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.
  • Drink 1 to 2 cups of black coffee or unsweetened tea daily.
  • Eat bacon and eggs for breakfast.
  • Eat red or green veggies (avoid starchy vegetables) for lunch and dinner.
  • Choose salads for lunch.
  • Eat high-protein foods at each meal (primarily eggs, meats, and poultry).
  • Drink tomato juice or skim milk before bed.
  • Eliminate sugar and high-carb foods (sweets, sugary drinks, pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes).

Why Choose the Grapefruit Diet?

Opting for the grapefruit diet works well for those times when you need to drop weight quickly. However, because the diet is restrictive and very low in calories, it's not suitable for a long-term meal plan. Always check with your doctor before you begin.

Grapefruit Diet Menu